ALTERNATIVE folk outfit The April Maze has spent the past few years touring up and down Australia’s east coast in their old kombi van, playing at small venues.
Established by Israeli-born singer-songwriter Sivan Agam and her husband Todd Mayhew five years ago, The April Maze takes its inspiration from the 1970s.
Agam plays cello and guitar while Mayhew contributes banjo, stompbox and guitar.
They have quietly built up a local following, but almost overnight, The April Maze has made its mark on the global music scene, thanks to the world’s biggest music-streaming site, Spotify, with the album, Two, gaining more than 70,000 hits in a week in November.
“We were quite bewildered,” Agam told The AJN about the sudden success.
Spotify is a subscription service where people stream music instead of buying or downloading it. Its integration with Facebook enables people to see what their friends are listening to, occasionally landing unsigned artists in the spotlight.
Continuous plays and increased social-media attention meant The April Maze found itself in the top five new releases on the front page of Spotify in the US and the UK, as well as hitting the top 100 most popular new releases.
However, Agam and Mayhew only discovered their success after receiving a call from an artist manager in Britain who had become a fan of their folk music.
“He said we were up there with Mumford and Sons, Lana Del Ray, One Direction … we had no idea how we got there!” Agam says with a laugh. The duo does not currently have a manager or a recording label – they do almost everything themselves – but have been overwhelmed with interest in recent weeks.
Agam says they are thrilled with their newfound success, but aren’t necessarily about to commit to the big time.
“We’re trying to keep our heads screwed on. We’re trying to think about what we want to achieve,” she says.
For now, they’re happy touring around Australia where they are performing at gigs and music festivals. Next year they will tour Britain and Europe, before gracing the Canadian music scene.
“Even though it seems like an overnight thing, we’ve been slogging at it for a while,” she says.
“I feel very privileged to be able to do this. I feel very lucky to have this as my job.”
REPORT by Phoebe Roth
PHOTO of Sivan Agam and Todd Mayhew from alternative folk duo The April Maze. Photo: Lili Waters